Tuesday, July 19, 2005

More on Rove

This evening, Bush will finally have a distraction from the media whirlwind surrounding Karl Rove's improper (and possibly illegal) actions when he announces his nominee for the Supreme Court. All eyes will be on this, so it may take some attention away from Rove. Let's hope not, though. I'm sure that for Bush, the more contentious the nominee, the more attention it takes away from Rove. It's time to see if the media has the ability to focus on two things at the same time. If they don't, the good news is that (as Kos has said) the special prosecutor will not let the Supreme Court nominee distract him from his business.

One thing I wanted to mention about Bush's slight of hand with regards to whether someone will be fired in his Administration. In case you've been living under a rock the past couple days, Bush said, "if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration." Now many have seen this for what it obviously is, a shameless ploy to wiggle out of Bush's previous statements that anyone involved (in any way) would be fired. I totally agree, he's changing the standard for what it'll take to fire somebody so he doesn't lose Rove. What's interesting, though, is that I just read the cover story of Time's most recent issue (not what Cooper wrote, the other story). It seemed to suggest, based on information from an anonymous source involved with the investigation, that the special prosecutor isn't just focusing on the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. The special prosecutor might also be looking into other crimes, such as perjury or obstruction of justice. This fact might cause Bush's sneaky remarks to come right back and bite him in the ass. If Rove is indicted or convicted of perjury, that's a crime. Bush didn't say how serious the crime has to be, just that if someone committed a crime they would be fired. I would love to see the Bushies try to wiggle themselves out of this one! Either Bush would have to lose Rove, or this becomes the most blatent lie that he has directly told the American people.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

a Rove-an rant

I've become quite amused with the Karl Rove story because it's fun to see the media taking this one seriously for once. It used to be that something comes out about the Bush administration's shadiness, they deny it, and the media lets it go after a day or so. The media is actually following up on it for a couple days. I like that the stonewalling is only piquing the media's interest. It's fun to watch the White House press briefings from the past 3 days. The media is getting frustrated, and they're firing back for once. I don't know if they'll have the stamina to keep this up for a few weeks, but I hope they do.
David Corn has some interesting analysis on this whole debacle. One of his best questions is as follows: "Is it better or worse for the Dems to make a big stink? It does keep the story going. But it has given all the right-wing spinners the opportunity to create a new framework for the story: this is just a partisan smear attack." It's true that the Republicans like to lean on this one as their standard response when Democrats go on the attack, no matter what it the attack is about. I think, however, that the Democrats have a couple good responses to this dilemma. First, some Democrats (John Kerry, Howard Dean, etc.) have made sure to point out that this issue rises above partisan bickering. It goes to the very credibility of the White House. Even if Rove didn't technically break any laws, he acted in a way that tarnishes (even further) the office of the President. That alone deserves a regination or a pink slip. Second, as Tim Russert (of all people) noted a couple days ago on the Today Show, "If this was a Democratic White House, we'd have Congressional hearings in a Second." This response is significant because it highlights the fact that the Republicans' unwillingness to do something about Rove is itself playing politics! The Republicans are doing everything to help their people, and it's making them look bad.
The Republicans have released talking points (scroll down the page for a copy of the talking points) to deflect criticism from Rove to Wilson. They're trying to attack Wilson for being partisan because he found out that documents were forged to drum up support for the invasion of Iraq. These attacks are clearly beside the point. They amount to defending Rove's unethical and potentially illegal action. It's sad. First of all, the Republicans are lying (right now Al Franken is debunking the talking points on his radio show) and taking quotations out of context for their attacks. Second, they are defending potentially criminal activity!
I'm curious about George W. Bush's role in this. There needs to be some accountability in the White House. Now, I know that Dubya isn't great on taking responsibility for mistakes and wrongdoings (recall that Dubya himself could not come up with a single mistake he has ever made aside from trading Sammy Sosa and appointing some people), as many of us on the left know very well, but he clearly said he would take action if someone was found out leaking classified info. Check out David Corn's analysis (link above) that shows Rove did leak classified info. George has said that he is a straight shooter whose word is his bond. He needs to fire Rove, and if he doesn't, Bush himself should be removed from office for his unwillingness to take responsibility or hold those reponsible accountable. Also, what did Bush know about this leak, and when did he know it? If Bush knew what Rove was doing when Rove did it, then Bush would be culpable in this matter as well!! This is the type of questioning the media needs to follow up on. It's not like this was a low-level person who did a leak under the nose of the higher ups in the administration. This is Bush's top advisor!! He's known Rove for almost 20 years! He's gotta know what Rove did, and if he isn't willing to do something about it, then Bush himself should go.
Overall, the media from all over should rachet up the pressure on the White House here. This means talk about it w/ everyone and demand that Karl Rove leave. Now, I expect that even if more and more pressure comes to fire Rove, Bush won't do it. He's got too much invested in Rove to let him go. Besides, it's not like incompetence or wrongdoing have been compelling enough to cause Bush to fire anybody. He values loyalty over competence. History proves this to be true. Alberto Gonzales (torture), Donald Rumsfeld (not enough troop support and lying about wmd), and Condi Rice (ignored "bin laden determined to attack US" memo) have screwed things up during the first 4 years, and they have either kept their job or been promoted to another position. Paul Bremer and George Tenet messed up the war and reconstruction in Iraq, and they got medals of freedom. I expect the same kind of response to Karl Rove. He'll be kept on, and it'll only make them look worse. Goodie gumdrops.